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100-year old dam declared safe despite tremors

A committee has declared that the Mullaperiyar dam, on the border of Tamilnadu and Kerala states in India, is safe after earthquake tremors rocked the states in December and January.

Kerala government claims that after the tremors there were visual sightings of cracks in the dam, allowing leakages. But after a two-day detailed inspection, the committee decided the dam is very safe and the tremors have had no impact on the dam structure, site or buildings.

The committee has been set up under the orders of India’s Supreme Court and is considering a petition to raise the height of the dam to allow for more irrigation capacity. The century-old dam dam is 42m high but the Tamilnadu government, which maintains the structure, has requested to raise the dam height to 46m. This is opposed by Kerala government, as it believes such action would endanger the safety of the old dam.

The matter has been put before the Supreme Court and the Tamilnadu government has suggested that in the first phase the dam should be raised to 44m and the entire structure should be strengthened.

The Supreme Court will pass the final orders in the case after hearing the views of both governments on the report.